An Example of Foreign Living
Last week’s memo was about sustaining our enthusiasm and focus for the long haul. Challenges, disappointments, unmet expectations of God and other people, misunderstandings and temptations to “fold” are inevitable parts of living in the secular culture of our time while having aspirations and loyalties that are tied to God’s eternal Kingdom. Daniel is a great role model for us for living in one culture while holding first loyalty to the Lord and His kingdom. He lived out the instructions of Jeremiah 29:1-12 that were cited last week.
In his emerging adulthood years (Daniel 1), he faced systematic indoctrination into Babylonian beliefs and lifestyle. He was removed from home and family. He was enslaved. He could have simply acquiesced to the program. But He wanted to be obedient to God. He respectfully resisted, putting his faith in God.
He could have faced severe consequences up to and including death, but God honored his faithfulness. For those reading this in the early stages of adulthood, his example is “must reading”. You will certainly be tempted to abandon God’s guidelines and purposes for life. Daniel stood his ground, but did so in a respectful, even persuasive way and won the admiration of his captors.
As he took on the role of “advisor” to the King, he found himself and 3 of his friends on the verge of execution (Daniel 2). Nebuchadnezzar refused to reveal the content of a dream, but demanded that the “magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and Chaldeans” interpret it. Daniel had the courage to respectfully intervene with the guard assigned to oversee the executions and went directly to the King.
He prayed and sought God’s illumination and was successful in interpreting the dream. God used it to give Daniel even more influence.
In the last example we find Daniel in his later years (Daniel 6). Seventy years have passed, Babylon has been defeated and Darius the Mede is ruling. He is so impressed with Daniel that he plans to make him the administrator of the whole kingdom. The other administrators, out of jealousy, set a trap for Daniel, deceiving Darius into banning prayers to anyone but Darius for 30 days. Daniel is faced with either neglecting prayer or obeying the decree, with the threat of being thrown into a lion’s den if he violates the decree. You know the story. He openly prays as always and is miraculously preserved from death.
Daniel was also given prophetic truths that reached centuries into the future. As far as we know, he never returned to Israel. But he served God’s purposes for decades as a political captive on foreign soil.
Our “second” home will attempt to indoctrinate us into its ways and beliefs. We will need courage to represent the Lord to those around us both verbally and in our actions. We will likely face some consequences as a result of our faith, as minimal as misunderstanding or as painful as outright persecution.
Thousands of Israelites were taken into captivity. Daniel’s life is the most memorable of the handful who left a trail for us to follow.
We have been called and given the opportunity to represent God. Lives, eternal souls, hang in the balance. What can we do today, this week and in the coming days and weeks to equip ourselves and others for the privilege of fulfilling that calling?
I’d like to add a couple church family updates. As I write this, Marg Shephard is in very serious condition. Please pray for her, Dave and their family. Praise God with us that Barb Monson has improved this week and pray for the progress to continue.
We will be hosting a celebration of life here at CCC for Allison Stankavage Morris next Saturday, August 5th at 11AM. Allison succumbed to cancer 2 weeks ago in Florida where she lived and worked. Her family and many local friends who were not able to attend services there will be here. Please continue your prayers for her husband Paul Morris, parents Rob and Lynda and sister Tracy Stankavage.
Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!